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The in-between: #notamartyr

“AAAAAAAAARGH!!!” – the sound of animal, from the center of the gut through my burning mouth. The wrenching pain is excruciating and I can’t feel anything else, but a high-pitched burning that simmers every pore to cinders. It’s unbearable, it’s too much, and I close my eyes and fall into a numbing blackout.

When I unglue my eyelids, I’m still exactly where I was a second ago: bodies rolling around in blood and ashes, anthracite smoke billowing into the clear blue sky, the oranges from my grocery bag still rolling away from me…

I get up and look down: my body, my beloved beautiful youthful vessel of skin and muscles, is lying there open, gashed and mauled and practically unrecognizable. I admire the scarlet of my blood and flesh; I look healthy! And then, I realize that the news has happened to me. I cannot believe it. Boom, gone, just like that, in the middle of fucking grocery shopping. 

I check my pockets for my keys and phone, but cannot find them anywhere. If only I could just call everyone I love and tell them that I’m okay, that it’s okay, that I’m here, but not really…that I didn’t want to go, that I love them and I loved my life, that I was taken away by force, that they should probably avoid going to identify my body – it’s looking bad, it’s not me, I’m here, I swear, I can see it all…people running to see what had just happened, victims screaming in pain…but the sound is fading away, little by little…

I feel that my time is running out, so I turn into the side street away from the chaos. I see my car parked at the entrance to my building; it needs a wash as usual. I think of my building and of my neighbors and I hope that they’re all okay. I climb up three flights of stairs and come to my door, but I cannot open it. And then, I hear my cat meowing, meowing like mad and scratching at the door. Oh my poor cat! What is going to happen to you?! Will anyone remember that you lived here with me and come to rescue you?

I hear my phone ring from inside my house: must’ve left it inside!!! I know who’s calling, I know it because it doesn’t stop ringing and ringing and ringing. He just wants to hear that I’m okay. But I’m not really okay anymore. This is it. In between rings, I hear a message of concern pop up on Whatsapp. She must’ve heard news of the blast. And then another one…and another one…

I collapse at my door. The world is silent now and I’m helpless, without any physical grip, without any physical presence.

As I wait for the grace period to terminate, I think of my love, my little sisters, my brother and my parents, my friends and my silly cat. I think of my unfinished projects, I think of my happiness that I will never feel again, I think of my oranges lying there in the street, being stepped on, being crushed by boots that are trying to save other lives. I know it’s useless to ask “Why me?” as much as it is useless to cry. I wasn’t the first to go nor will I be the last. We all go eventually…


I feel grateful to be able to sit here and write this. Up until now I’ve been counting the blasts, observing their frequency, their locations, their timing – calculating their distance from me. The car bombs, so far, have always gone off no less than 3 kilometers away and that gave me 3000 meters of setback. Unable to really feel more than disgust with the current situation, I threw my imagination forward as a bystander too close to survive. That’s when it hurt so much I cried, cried in remorse, in fear and with an unwillingness to experience even an ounce of the pain that the friends and families of the victims are enduring and will endure for years. I only hope that they be spared more losses as much as I hope that I be spared as well.


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